Thursday, May 31, 2012

Little Abner

I just love this little guy!

Since I became Abner's correspondent sponsor back in October, I have received 3 letters from him. It seems to take about 2 months for his letters to arrive in my mailbox. Abner is the little guy who lives in Colombia and has a parrot named Rebeca.

So after being gone for a week, I was so excited with a new letter from Abner! There were 2 pages! The first page was on typical Compassion stationery and it says:

"Dear Yvonne:

I greet you in the love of the Lord hoping that you are enjoying good health. I want to tell you that I have lots of fun in the project with my teachers and I do nice things; I made a snowflake and I am learning to dance, drama, and folklore music. In drama we are working in our emotions and about our daily activities.

I thank you for your letter and the beautiful pictures. I had a nice birthday, I had a great time and ate cake. I received a heavy duty truck and a couple of toy limousines too.

I pray for all of you that God blesses you more each day.

I now say goodbye with a strong hug hoping that God blesses you always."

OK, so reading this almost makes me want to cry! But imagine my surprise when I looked on the next page and saw a picture of Abner smiling!

This next page says:

"This is me one day with my brothers and we are playing. We took a lot of pictures and this was one of them.

This is the mascot of our house. Her name is Rebeca. We had talked about her before. I hope you like it. I love her dearly.

On a good day, I will see if I can send one of everyone in my family, for now I send a hug and kisses. God Bless You. Thank you very much."

Recently, I was blessed with the opportunity to send a package for Abner with another sponsor who was traveling to Colombia to visit her Compassion kids. I know Abner loves to draw and I can't wait for him to receive the colored pencils I sent to him.

One day I pray that I will have the opportunity to visit one of our Compassion kids. Sometimes I am overwhelmed with how important these kids have become in my life. We pray for each one of them daily and send them all at least one letter each month. I pray they realize what a blessing they are to my life, knowing that one day, we will all be rejoicing together in heaven!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Our week in the 1860's

Last week, the kids and I headed over to Felton for the week. The first part of our adventure included spending 3 days with about 1800 school kids. Each day, from 8:40 in the morning until about 1:15 in the afternoon, the kids rotated through 12 stations learning more about Civil War history.

While I was teaching the kids about the role of civilian women...

Matthew was drilling each group of kids...

For most of the first 3 days, we were the only tent over in our area...

We had some beautiful mornings though...

Starting on Friday afternoon, we were joined by many more reenactors for the weekend. For this long holiday weekend, there were 2 battles on Saturday and Sunday, a dance on Saturday night, a train ride for the reenactors on Sunday night, a Memorial Day service on Monday, and ended with one last battle on Monday afternoon. By late Monday afternoon, the kids and I were so ready to head home!

Here are just a few of my favorite photos from the weekend...

Love seeing the red, white, and blue moving in the breeze...

Kelsey wearing her new skirt and top...

Wait a minute? I wonder who this could be? :o)

Kelsey decided to put on a uniform, go out for the battle, and bandage up injured soldiers. She is right in the middle of this picture.

Matthew in his role as 2nd Lieutenant.

Visiting our friends at their sutler shop is always a learning experience!

Beautiful evening for a train ride up to Bear Mountain

Monday, May 21, 2012

Homeschool High School Graduation!

It has been 2 weeks already since we graduated our first student from high school!

This is Matthew on his first day of school

We wanted to make this a special day for Matthew, so I really wanted to involve him in the planning process of the ceremony. I asked him to decide the outline of the ceremony and decide who would be speaking. I told him I would like him to write out his speech and asked that it be at least 1 1/2 to 2 pages, typed.

He helped me to create a simple announcement that we were able to print as 4 x 6 photos (that 9 cent per print coupon from Costco came in handy!). I was in charge of ordering the cakes and picking up decorations.

About 2 weeks before the ceremony, I started working on a big photo project:

I have these 2 albums that I have always planned to put together for each one of the kids with pictures from their school years. I thought it would be too hard to have the photos in an album for the ceremony, I wanted people to be able to see the photos from all of Matthew's school years. So I mounted all the photos on cardstock and randomly placed them on project boards. I printed so many pictures that they filled up four project boards!

We had the ceremony at our church in the afternoon. This worked out well so that family and friends that were from out of town could get there in time for the ceremony.

Matthew had our pastor speak first:

Then our youth pastor:

Next was his dad:

Then it was my turn (yes, I did cry!)

Finally, Matthew gave his speech. I didn't even read it ahead of time.

After Matthew gave his speech, a few of his friends joined him to play a song. Then his dad presented him with his diploma!

I probably should have asked someone to take pictures for me and video tape the ceremony. Oh well! We do have an MP3 file of the audio of the graduation ceremony though! I hope you are able to take the time to listen to the ceremony. It will be something I will treasure!

Overall, I am really pleased with how the ceremony came together. We were so blessed to have family, friends, neighbors, and many members of our church family present.

At this time, Matthew has applied to a local junior college for the fall. We are looking forward to seeing where God leads Matthew from here!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

A little Sunday night learning

Today we had a chance to 'observe' the solar eclipse that was occuring just a little north of us. Since we were not in the direct path, we were only able to observe a partial eclipse. Armed with our pinhole piece of cardboard and using the back of Matthew's truck, we were able to see this:

It was amazing to me that with this much of the sun covered by the moon, the sun was almost as brilliantly bright as it usually is this time of the day:

(Note: I did not take this picture while looking at the sun. This was an over the shoulder trick shot.)

 Kelsey was doing a running commentary about the eclipse on her iPod. It will be fun to see if she does a blog post on her blog about the eclipse.

We read that the moon usually travels at about 1200 mph. You wouldn't know that just by watching the progress of movement through the pinhole. But it was incredible to watch the progression of where the moon was when we started watching to where it was when we decided it was time to go in and get dinner started.

The next total eclipse will occur in November and will be visible in Australia. Wonder if we should start planning a trip? :o)

Friday, May 18, 2012

My plans?...or God's plans?

I am a planner...I like to make lists...I like to plan the route of my errands...I really like when things fall into place.

Notice that each one of those phrases begins with 'I'. That's right, my plans! Before I gave my life to Jesus, I was a corporate world climbing young women. There was always a plan and it was my plan.

I still like to plan, and even though God's plan are bigger than our plans, we still need to plan. The thing is, I need to allow God's plans to change the route of my plans.

I had big plans of getting a lot of sewing done today. We have a big Civil War event coming up, and even though these shirts are almost done

I was hoping to work on a couple more sewing projects

another set of drawers and a couple of petticoats, and

a skirt and top for Kelsey, but as 'luck' would have it this morning...

my trusty sewing machine is not working properly. So...I decided to switch gears and work on something that I might be able to finish with little time and effort.

When we were out running errands yesterday, I picked up these flowers because I had seen a cute idea on Pinterest.

We have a few of these bottles on hand because of another idea I saw on Pinterest (that I actually still need to finish for someone!)
I pulled out some jute and that bag of messy spanish moss
After I filled the bottles with some of the spanish moss and tied a bow around the bottles, I cut up the flowers with my wire cutters (don't try this with scissors, it will just be too frustrating!)
Add some flowers to each bottle and I now have a simple, colorful centerpiece for my table!
Does this change the fact that my sewing machine isn't working properly and I may not be able to finish my planned sewing projects? No, but it does help to put things into perspective. The world is not going to fall apart if these sewing projects don't get finished. Slowing down this morning has given me a chance to reflect on His everlasting goodness in my life. He does not want me to worry about things of this life, He wants me to spend more time remembering His promises to me.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Not a very productive sewing afternoon

We have a big Civil War reenacting event coming up and I have needed to get some sewing done. Kelsey has outgrown her drawers and petticoats, and really needs new ones. She would also like to go on the field as a cadet at this event, so I told her I would make her a shirt.

I pulled out the bolt of bleached muslin I purchase a couple of years ago, and was disappointed to see that I only had enough material to make one set of drawers.

Time to buy another bolt of bleached muslin!

With the one set of drawers completed, I started working on the new shirt for Kelsey. After I had taken her measurements and even had her try on one of Matthew's shirts, I decided to make her a boys large. Big mistake! After spending most of the afternoon working on this shirt, it is too small!

At this point, I am going to finish the shirt and hopefully be able to sell it to someone at our next event. I decided to hunt around to see if I had enough of the right type of material to start on another shirt. You can't just use any type of print for Civil War reenacting... :o)

I was so happy to find this print at home! And enough of it to make another shirt! Everything is cut out and ready to start sewing on this shirt tomorrow.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Compassion Sponsor Letter Writing Night

I don't know about you, but I am so ready to go on a Compassion Sponsor Trip after reading so many of the blog posts from Tanzania this week!

In the meantime, this afternoon, the kids and I colored flags I found on the Crayola web site. The flags are from the 26 countries where Compassion is working. We added these to our Compassion binder that we have been putting together.

Tonight was our monthly letter writing night! I love finding craft projects, stickers, and other items to send to our sponsored children. A couple of weeks ago, I found some VBS sticker packs at Michaels for $1 each. I let everyone know that if they joined us this evening, I would give them a sheet of stickers for their Compassion child.

For our project this evening, I found a neat idea on Pinterest. We used cardstock, traced our hand, cut them out, and added a Bible verse. On the back, we are hoping a translation of the verse will be written in the child's language, if needed.

We are going to send an extra sheet of paper with instructions that we would like our sponsored child to trace their hand onto the paper, add a verse, then send it back to us. If we get any handprints back, my plan is to add the child's picture to the handprint, laminate them, and add them as bookmarks for my Bible.

In addition to the stickers and handprints, we are going to send them a state page that I found on the Crayola web site. I decided to color one of the pages and will send each of the kids a blank page for them to color.

Since we are sending items to twelve kids, we usually make sure we label everything. I made labels for everyone which makes it a little quicker to label multiple items. Then all the items for one child will be placed either in a ziploc bag or an envelope. The ziploc bag or envelope will also be labeled for each individual child. Then all the ziploc bags or envelopes are placed in one big envelope to send off to Compassion. We are hoping this makes it a little easier for the crew in Colorado to sort out for each of the kids.

What types of things do you like to send to your sponsored children?

Monday, May 7, 2012

Travel to Tanzania!

Would you like to experience a Compassion trip without leaving your home? This week you can!

Compassion Bloggers: Tanzania 2012
The Compassion Bloggers are in Tanzania right now! Now that our homeschool high school graduation is over (I will be posting about that later on this week), I will have time to read about these bloggers and their experiences in Tanzania.

If you are touched by their stories and would like to sponsor a child in Tanzania, be sure to follow this link:
Sponsor a Child in Jesus Name with Compassion

Share with me what your favorite blog post is...I will try to share which one is my favorite... :o)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

May Day Baskets

According to Wikipedia, "May Day was celebrated by some early European settlers of the American continent. In some parts of the United States, May Baskets are made. These are small baskets usually filled with flowers or treats and left at someone's doorstep. The giver rings the bell and runs away. The person receiving the basket tries to catch the fleeing giver. If they catch the person, a kiss is exchanged."

When we first moved into our neighborhood, the kids and I thought it would be fun to make May Day baskets and put them on our neighbor's door knobs. These made quite an impression! Our neighbor's loved them, so we have continued the tradition every May since then. They never have rung the door bell, but have quietly placed the May Day basket on the door knob, then they run away so they won't be caught.

This year, I looked through Pinterest for some May Day basket ideas. We saw a couple of ideas that would work, but adapted them for what we had on hand.

To make these May Day baskets, you will need:

berry baskets
flower foam
craft sticks
spanish moss
flower templates
a couple of willing helpers... :o)

First, we glued the flower foam to the bottom of the berry basket.

The kids worked on tracing the flower templates and cutting out the flower shapes.

Homemade iced coffee is always appreciated by a hard working crew... :o)

We added some spanish moss to the berry baskets.

This stuff is really messy!

Ribbon was added to each basket so they could hang from the door knob.

Buttons were glued to the center of some of the flowers, then all the flowers were glued to the craft stick.  We added six flowers to each basket by gently pressing them into the flower foam.

I found a cute May Day printable on Pinterest to add to each basket.

Doesn't it look great hanging on a door knob? :o)

The kids were up at 6:30am yesterday to deliver all of our May Day baskets. They have such a fun time doing this! Have you ever done May Day baskets for your neighbors?